This past week I was quite happy that I managed to write 22 pages in my new novel. However, I still didn’t make as much progress as I wanted on the reading front. I read 40 pages in “A Clash of Kings” and am currently in the middle of a Tyrion chapter on page 448.
That means in the last week I read 40 pages, which is still significantly short of the 70 pages as week I needed to be reading to complete the book by the end of July. Since I have fallen short the last two weeks I now need to read 87 pages per week to meet by goal. My short term goal is to get to page 500 (which is still way short of where I need to be) by the time the season 6 finale airs on Sunday night.
Onto Episode nine…From Ned Stark’s beheading, to the Battle of the Blackwater, to the Red Wedding, to the Battle at the Wal,l to the Fighting Pits the ninth episode of “Game of Thrones” has always been a highlight of each season and last night’s episode was no exception. Needless to say that the showdown between Jon and Ramsay was front and center but we all knew that since the episode was called “Battle of the Bastards” but that doesn’t meant here weren’t other things going on.
I made two predictions before the episode began; that Rickon would die and that Davos would finally find out what happened to Princess Shireen Baratheon and both came true. Not that they were terribly bold predictions.
The episode began not at Winterfell but in Meereen where Tyrion’s mistakes are still causing serious issues as the slave masters are trying to take back Meereen. As Meereen is under siege Tryion and Dany talk; Tryion tries to justify his actions in Dany’s absence but she is not hearing any of it. She is understandably pissed off. She wants to unleash hell on earth and destroy the slave masters and their cities. Tyrion invokes the memory of her father, the Mad King, and talks about how he wanted to destroy King’s Landing. He urges Dany not to go to the extreme if she doesn’t have to (and in talking about the wildfire that her father left in different places under King’s Landing he sets up a possible important plot point in next week’s season finale). Dany and Tryion, along with Greyworm and Missandei, meet with the Slaver Masters. The Salve Masters are demanding that the unsullied be put back into a life of slavery and that Dany’s Dragon’s be killed. When they tell Dany that her reign has handed she corrects them telling them that her reign has just begun. Then after years and years and years of waiting Dany is truly ready to become the Dragon Queen. Drogon flies over to them and she climbs onto his back. The Slaver Masters who were so big with their talk just moments before are scared shitless. As Drogon flies across the bay of Meereen with Dany on his back his brothers, Viserion and Rhaegal, break out of the cave they were being kept in and join him. I, like I’m sure many others, have been waiting for Dany kick ass with her Dragons.
As exciting as last year’s fighting pits scene was this one was even better because all three dragons were destroying Dany’s enemies. It’s taken a long time for those dragons to grow up but at long last they, like Dany, are finally ready to display their full power. Of course, Dany’s power isn’t just limited to her dragons; she also has the Dorthraki who kill a bunch of the Sons of the Harpy. In amusing moment Greyworm tells the Slaver Masters that they will kill one of them. When two of the Slaver Masters turn on the one of low birth urging Greyworm to kill him they end up getting themselves killed. Tyrion tells the one remaining Slave Master to return to his home and tell people that he was saved by Dany kindness but also to tell people of what he saw with her dragons. The opening sequence in Meereen was amazing and was a great start to a great episode.
The episode next moved to where we knew a lot of action would take place and that, of course, is Winterfell. Jon, along with Sansa, meet with Ramsay to talk. Naturally, Ramsay wants them all to bend the knee and recognize him as the Lord of Winterfell and the Warden of the North. He even promises them that he will pardon them. This offer is obviously refused. There was an amusing shot of little Lyanna Mormont making a face at Ramsay.
Jon makes a fruitless attempt to avoid a big battle by telling Ramsay that thousands of people don’t have to die. He tries to argue for a one on one combat with Ramsay but Ramsay won’t hear of hit. Ramsay then tries to get under both Jon and Sansa’s skin by proving that he has Rickon when he throws the severed head of Rickson’s Dire Wolf, Shaggy Dog, on the ground. This is too much for Sansa to take and she tells Ramsay and he’s going to die tomorrow and rides away.
Back at camp Jon discusses the battle strategy with all of his advisors. Sansa stands back and watches and listens and when everybody is gone she challenges Jon on his plans. She stresses that she knows Ramsay and that they should have waited until they had more men before attacking Winterfell and trying to get their home back. She then, sadly, makes the correct assessment that they won’t get Rickson back. As Ned Stark’s trueborn son Rickon represents the biggest threat to Ramsay for control of Winterfell because Jon is just a bastard and she is just a girl.
Jon and Sansa seem to be at an impasse when she leaves in frustration saying that if they lose she won’t go back to Ramsay at Winterfell alive. Jon promises to protect her but Sansa scoffs at this. She says that nobody can protect her and that nobody can protect anyone. This is a jaded and sad statement but if you think about all that Sansa has been through over the years it makes sense that she would feel this way. I do love the new tough Sansa but in order for her to emerge the bright eyed and naïve Sansa from the first season basically had to die after facing years of death, betrayal, fear, rape and abuse.
Outside Davos and Tormund talk about the upcoming battle and about their former Kings; Stannis and Mance Rayder.
Jon checks in with Melisandre and asks her not to bring him back if he dies. She refuses to honor his request saying that she has to follow the Lord of Light and that it is from his power not hers that she brought him back in the first place.
She then admits that she doesn’t know what the Lord of Light’s plan is.
Then one of the two moments I predicted came true. Davos told Tormund during his talk that he prepares for battles by walking around all night. This is exactly what he is doing when he comes across the truth about what happened to Shireen, exactly one season ago. Next to the pile of burned wood he finds the charred remains of the stag he gave her the last time he saw her. His is a great moment because it is done without dialogue.
As the awful truth comes to Davos he has no time to process it because the first light of the day emerges and it is time to go fight the Boltons.
Back in Meereen, Westeros and Essos become more connected than ever as Theon and Yara arrive. Tyrion is pissed about the last time he saw Theon back in Winterfell when Theon made fun of his height. As Theon and Yara discuss what they want with Dany an interesting dynamic emerges. Dany and Yara are two strong women who had awful fathers. They are two women who are potentially far better rulers than their fathers were but they are also women who will have to go to war to fight for what they believe this theirs. There is also a fun little bit of flirting on Yara’s part towards Dany. The two women agree to fight along with each other and to leave the world better than how they found it.
I absolutely loved everything in Meereen this week. This scene was lady power at this best!
The episode ended with the Battle of the Bastards, which was truly epic. Before the troops charge on each other Ramsay uses the greatest tool at his disposal to put himself in a position of advantage and that tool is Rickon Stark. At first I thought he was going to behead Rickon but that would be far too straight forward for Ramsay. As Sansa correctly pointed out to Jon the night before the battle Ramsay likes to lay traps and that is exactly what he does with Rickon. The youngest Stark child is told that he needs to run to his brother and the sooner he gets to him the sooner he can be reunited with him. Once Rickon starts running towards Jon the real drama begins. Jon hops on this horse to race towards his brother but Ramsay immediately begins shooting arrows at Rickon. If this was a different show we might have gotten a happy ending but let’s get real, the best you can every hope for in A Song of Ice and Fire is bittersweet. Moments before Jon and Rickon meet each other my second prediction of the episode came true. Rickon is killed as one of Ramsay’s arrows finally gets him, not only gets him but goes right through his heart.
It is an awful moment, one that left both me and my husband in tears. Then Jon does what Sansa told him not to do. He makes a mistake and gives Ramsay exactly what he wants. He charges at the Bolton army alone. Seeing that Jon is about to get himself into real trouble Davos sends a large number of troops after him. The battle that ensues was as intense as any battle I’ve ever seen in a feature film. After much carnage and bloodshed the Bolton army surrounds Jon and his army and it seems all is lost, especially when Jon knocked over and is nearly trampled to death. Then a miracle appears in the form of the Knights of the Vale. Or to look at it another way the miracle is the relationship between Sansa and Littlefinger. The tide of the battle turns against Ramsay and he is left running for Winterfell. Ramsay thinks he can just wait Jon out inside the walls of Winterfell but Jon has a giant. Wun Wun breaks down the gate of Winterfell but in the process ends up becoming greatly wounded.
The giant is suffering and as he gives a pained look to Jon he is killed. Ramsay shoots him through the eye with an arrow. Without an army Ramsay agrees to one on one combat. He starts shooting arrows at Jon who blocks them with a shield. When Jon gets to Ramsay he starts beating him to death. He stops when he sees Sansa.
I wanted Sansa to go up to Ramsay and slit is throat or cut his head off but that didn’t happen.
In the aftermath of the Battle of the Bastards Winterfell now once again displays the banner of the Starks. Davos stares at Melisandre with Shireen’s stag in his hands, clearly waiting for the right moment to confront her. Jon gives the order for Rickson will be buried it the crypt next to his father. Then Sansa visits Ramsay. As much as I wanted Sansa to slit Ramsay’s throat or cut his head off there was something much more cosmically just instore store for him. His hounds, having been kept from food for seven days, turn on him. They tear his apart as Sansa watches.
This was better because Ramsay loved to play games and his hounds were part of his games, so to be killed by them was a prefect way for him to go out. The last shot of the episode was Sansa walking away with a small smile on her face.
I’m looking forward to a lot of things in the season finale, I think the showdown between Davos and Melisandre will be an interesting one, to say the least, but I’m also sad. Counting next week’s episode there are only 14 episodes left in the entire show.
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Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.